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Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • One 2-pound flank steak, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into several pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions, one minced and one cut into lengthwise ¼-inch strips
  • 2 green bell peppers, ½ pepper minced, and 1 ½ peppers cut lengthwise into ¼-inch strips
  • ¼ cup minced garlic (8 to 12 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ¾ cups beef broth
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup pimento stuffed green olives (drained)
  • 3 tablespoons nonpareil capers (drained)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro


  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper on all sides. When the oil is hot, sear the beef (in batches if necessary) until well-browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the minced onion, minced bell pepper, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste has browned a bit. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Return the meat to the pan, cover, and transfer to the oven until the beef is fork tender and pulls apart easily, 2 ½ to 3 hours.
  • While the meat is cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot. Add the sliced bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes longer. Set aside.
  • When the meat is very tender, remove it from the oven and transfer the meat to a heatproof bowl. Add the olives, capers, vinegar, and half of the cilantro to the sauce along with the sautéed peppers and onions and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Using two forks, pull the meat apart into thin shreds and then return it to the sauce. Stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Let sit in a warm oven until ready to serve, or refrigerate for up to several days before serving. (Reheat in a warm oven if refrigerating for any length of time.) Just before serving, garnish with the remaining cilantro.
  • Very nice served with Moros & Christianos and/or an avocado and tomato salad.

Recipe Details